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If you're looking for home education resources for high school level grammar and composition, here's a collection of curriculum we've used or reviewed. It's certainly not an exhaustive list, but it turned out to be longer than I'd initially expected! Hopefully it will get you started.
For a versatile non-fiction writing course suitable for all high school grades, check out The Power in Your Hands from Writing with Sharon Watson. We started out using this at home, and I've taught this course twice as a high school co-op class. The text is written directly to the student, so it can be used quite independently, but it's been very easy to adapt for use in a class setting. We have a 90 minute class once a week and the students work on their own during the rest of the week. The lessons have a relaxed and sometimes humorous tone, and guide students through persuasive essays in different styles, a biography, a literary analysis, a position paper, and more. After finishing this course, a student should be quite well prepared to write essays for SATs and for college. There's an emphasis on students acting as their own editors, and proofreading and editing their own work effectively.
The Teacher's Guide has answer keys and teaching helps, and a detailed grading rubric for every essay assigned. I found these rubrics so valuable as they took the guesswork out of grading papers written by my co-op students and helped me be objective in grading my own student's work.
Read our full review of the non-fiction writing course here: The Power in Your Hands (A Schoolhouse Crew Review) and an update in the Blogging Through the Alphabet series here: The Power in Your Hands (Blogging Through the Alphabet).
Another company that has been a favorite of ours is Institute for Excellence in Writing. We've used a number of their resources and all are indeed excellent. For high school students, the Student Writing Intensive Level C is a great choice. There are several resources bundled together in the Deluxe Combo package we used and reviewed.
The Student Writing Intensive DVD set is a four-DVD set with basically all the teaching done by Andrew Pudewa, so it's a matter of turning on the DVD and enjoying it right alongside the kids. Keep an eye on the Teacher's Notes (included!) to know when the pause the DVD so the kids can work on the assignment. The notebook that comes with the set has a 3-ring binder and divider tabs, all the student hand-outs, and all the necessary Teacher's Notes. The course can be completed in either 15 or 30 weeks, depending on your preference, or you can adjust the suggested Course Schedule to suit your needs.
The package also has some additional helps for student writing. A Word Write Now is a thesaurus organized by themes like "Words for Compassion", "Words to Describe Temperature", and "Words for Smelling"; and Portable Walls help students set up a writing station at their desk or table, one that can easily be picked up and moved. It's a tri-fold folder with a pocket, covered with word lists, prepositions, and more.
For the parent/teacher, the Teaching Writing: Structure & Style DVD Set and Seminar Workbook is where to start. This is a set of twelve DVDS - nine are the TWSS seminar led by Andrew Pudewa, and three are student demo DVDs. The seminar presents, in detail, the entire method, starting with the basics of finding keywords and rewriting a paragraph, all the way to advanced creative writing and essays for high school students. You will learn yourself how to do what you will ask of your students - find keywords, rewrite and retell information or stories, choose strong and expressive vocabulary, and effectively use varied sentence structures and literary devices.
Read our full review: Institute for Excellence in Writing (A Schoolhouse Crew Review)
Included in our IEW Combo, and available separately, is a curriculum for teaching grammar that is unique and fun. Fix It! Grammar is a fun and painless way to learn and review grammar through story telling. This series of six books teaches grammar skills and knowledge by having students find and correct errors in short daily passages that tell a story. Students are applying and practicing grammar knowledge in context, which makes it easier for them to understand and use the skills in their own writing. Each book in the series tells a different story, and each builds on the skills taught in previous books, so it's generally recommended that students work through them in order no matter what their grade level. There is a placement test, however, if you're coming into the program with a student that is more advanced. The lessons are laid out in four-day weeks. Each day's lesson consists of a couple sentences of the story that the student parses and corrects. There are vocabulary words to learn or review. Once the corrections have been marked, the student rewrites the corrected sentences into their notebook. When the workbook is complete, the student will have the entire story written correctly in their own book. For an easily adaptable grammar program for a wide age range, Fix It! Grammar is a great choice that should keep the attention of students and teachers alike.
Read our full review: Fixing Grammar with IEW (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review)
A more textbook and workbook style of teaching grammar is Analytical Grammar. This no-nonsense and purely analytical approach to it was a pretty good fit for one of my sons. The presentation is uncluttered and "just the facts". The program teaches grammar, punctuation, and usage for older students, and is designed to be taught over three "seasons" but could also be condensed and taught over one or two years. It's very straight-forward, with a thorough teacher's guide that has everything laid out step-by-step. Each unit begins with a teaching page that gives detailed explanation of the part of speech that is the focus for the unit, then three worksheets or exercises to practice parsing sentences and diagramming, and a test. The teacher's guide has all the same material with a complete answer key.
Read our full review: Analytical Grammar (Schoolhouse Crew Review)
Now let's get back to composition again. Sometimes a short, focused course on writing in a specific style is exactly what's needed, especially for students preparing to write an SAT or college entrance essay. The folks at Institute for Excellence in Writing have got you covered here as well. In the High School Essay Intensive they bring their award-winning approach to writing and grammar to a workshop that focuses on developing the essay writing skills students will need as they head to college. Students continue to add to the Structure and Style writing model that IEW teaches, adding more sophisticated writing tools to their toolbox, and building confidence in their ability to succeed in the essay portions of the SAT and ACT, and in the types of essays required in college. There are five DVDs of instruction (total of 6.5 hours), the Student Handouts, and Portable Walls for the Essayist. Or you can stream the video of the workshop at the IEW website.
Read our full review here: High School Essay Intensive
Another focused intensive course to consider is the College-Ready Writing Essentials™ course from BetterRhetor. It teaches the very important skill of academic writing, and bridges the gap between high school or pre-college writing and the mastery of college-level writing skills. CRWE is available as a Full Package with complete curriculum and worksheets, and as a Premium package which has additional exercises and includes personalized feedback from the course developer, Dr. William Bryant, PhD. This is an excellent intensive course that would be very suitable for a high school senior, a motivated high school junior, or for a summer preparation course for a high school graduate. It is not light or casual, but takes a serious approach to building the necessary thinking and writing skills for students who want to be well prepared for college academics. Find our more about the College-Ready Writing Essentials courses at: www.BetterRhetor1.teachable.com/courses
Read our full review here: Getting Ready to Write at the College Level (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review)
One more short course to tell you about is Essay Rock Star from Fortuigence. It's designed to be one semester (half credit for high school), and consists of four short courses. The short courses can each be taken individually as well. Students can work at their own pace, however, and a trained teacher reviews and critiques the work at every step. The lessons are online, so the student reads the material, watches the video and can listen to the audio at their convenience. There are also links to resource material. The teachers reviews all the student work and give individual feedback, and also provide suggestions for improvement. As the student's work shows that they've mastered each step along the way, they can move on to the next lesson.
Read our full review: Essay Rock Star from Fortuigence
Finally, fiction writing! Writing Fiction [In High School from Writing with Sharon Watson is a two-semester, full credit high school English course. The textbook is written directly to the student in a conversational tone, and breaks down all the elements of fiction writing into about one hundred assignments in thirteen chapters. That sounds like a lot of assignments, but most are relatively short exercises. When students are assigned a fiction scene or story to write, the expected word count is seldom more than 500-750. Grammar lessons and humor are sprinkled throughout, so the text is not dry.
The Teacher's Guide has a lot of information and teaching suggestions, and it contains the answers to discussion questions and some additional directions. However, it does not include grading rubrics for the writing assignments, or much in the way of telling you how to assign grades in the course. This course is another that I've taught at the co-op and it's a lot of fun!
Read our full review here: Writing Fiction - Bringing Stories to Life (A Homeschool Coffee Break Review)
And to close, I would also mention that there are a number of high school level Language Arts courses at SchoolhouseTeachers.com. These include Classics-based Writing, Creative Writing, Daily Grammar, Essay Writing 101, and many more. There's even a course written by Sharon Watson - Writing: Compare and Contrast.
Secure your entire 2020-21 curriculum by purchasing a family membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. New members who take advantage of the 2020 SHARK BOGO sale will get a second year of curriculum at no extra cost! Use promo code: SHARK to receive a discounted rate of $179 that includes two full years AND a free tote with a PRINT back issue! Every subject. Every grade. Every student.
As always, I'd be delighted to answer further questions about these resources, or any questions you may have about homeschooling.
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